SLC 2017 Q&A: Leveraging Technology to Build a World-Class Ergonomics Process

July 13, 2017
Safety managers can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace with a combination of the right training as well as cloud-based data management software.

Gathering, managing and analyzing ergonomics data to build an effective ergonomics process can be a confusing and daunting task, especially with the number of software available to safety managers.

Ron Henderson, director of global EHS at Tower International, will tell attendees at the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference about how training along with data management software can assist safety managers with reducing and preventing musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.

In a Q&A with EHS Today, Henderson tells readers what to expect during the discussion which is part of the Safety Technology track.

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EHS Today: What is the title of your presentation?

Ron Henderson: From Paper and Pencil to the Cloud: Leveraging Technology to Build a World-Class Ergonomics Process

EHS Today: Can you offer us a description of your presentation and how it relates to safety leadership?

Henderson: Managing data for an enterprise-wide ergonomics process can seem daunting. Global locations and languages, plus inconsistent tools and methods for collecting and reporting information, are only a few of the challenges EHS leadership face when trying to minimize the risk of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. This session will discuss lessons learned and best practices of implementing ergonomics training and data management software as a service (SaaS) at Tower International. 

EHS Today: Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to safety leadership or the topic of your presentation.

Henderson: Tower International has had an ergonomics process in place for over a decade. It was followed at most of our sites with varying success. In other words, it was working but we were missing opportunities to further reduce ergonomic risk factors and improve productivity.  We needed a tool that would present data in real time to identify new opportunities. 

EHS Today: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees?

Henderson: Attendees of this session will learn:

  1. How to gain efficiencies using today’s cloud-based technology to conduct line-side assessments. 
  2. How shared data can drive improvement processes across multiple operations.
  3. The important role that software can play in determining root causes, understanding trends, and developing leading metrics.
  4. How software can help measure and demonstrate the value returned by a robust ergonomics process, including linkages to productivity, quality, and employee engagement.

EHS Today: What are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2017 and beyond?

Henderson: New technologies - We need to keep up to date with new technologies in the areas of robotics and automation.  The traditional ways we have “safeguarded” people needs to change as robotics and automation technologies become move advanced and the way they interact with people changes.         

EHS Today: How will this session help attendees be a better resource for their employees and company?

Henderson: Attendees of this session will learn what obstacles to avoid, and the lessons learned when implementing an ergonomics improvement process using technology. They will learn how the use of this technology can drive the process forward and how data can demonstrate the return on investment and communicate the value to stakeholders and business executives.

(EHS Today's 2017 Safety Leadership Conference and America’s Safest Companies Award Program will take place Sept. 11-13 in Atlanta, GA at the Hilton Atlanta. This event is designed to share best leadership, risk management, compliance and safety practices with EHS professionals hoping to achieve world-class safety at their companies. The conference features 28 sessions across four performance tracks; Safety & Risk Management, Compliance, Construction Safety and Safety Technology.)

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